Oliva is one of our Ambassadors and vividly remembers how overwhelming it felt when she first started looking for an apprenticeship. Now as a Levels 6 Apprentice she shares her top tips on where to start.

Three years ago, Oliva found herself on the search for an apprenticeship. Today as a Level 6 Apprentice she shares her top tips on applying for apprenticeships….

Although you can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still in school from the age of 16 onwards, anyone can apply for an apprenticeship. This can be a huge leap into a professional environment, for many, this may be the first time they have submitted a job application or gone through a professional assessment.

It can be daunting, and I vividly remember how overwhelmed I felt when I first delved into my research for current apprenticeship vacancies.

So here are some of my top tips for a successful apprenticeship application. I hope they bring you some reassurance to those of you who find themselves in a similar position I found myself in three years ago.

1.     Don’t underestimate how beneficial your previous experiences are!

I commonly hear of students worrying they don’t have any work experience specific to the career they are applying for. For example, not having experience in a law firm when applying for a legal apprenticeship. But, as far as I’m aware, you don’t need to have this level of experience when applying for the majority of apprenticeships, especially if it’s an entry-level role.

Employers are realistic and understanding towards young people applying to apprenticeship schemes. Gaining work experience at a young age is difficult and has been made even harder by the pandemic.

When initially thinking about your own experiences, it can be a struggle to identify where you have gained experiences that are valuable to a future role. However, many applicants often dismiss or forget to include their hobbies, part-time jobs, voluntary roles, clubs and caring roles. You may have worked in a supermarket, performed in a school production, or learnt a language - it all counts as experience.

2.     Keep track of any applications

      You can have multiple applications on the go at any one time and I know from experience this can be stressful. So, it takes a bit of effort to keep on top of everything! I definitely recommend having a tracker list of every application you’ve submitted. This can be as detailed or as simple as you like. I advise having multiple columns for things like status, closing date, employer name etc. This way you have one document that can be updated every time you complete an application. It’s easy to visualise what’s left to be done and helps you meet deadlines. Many applicants may be balancing apprenticeship applications alongside existing commitments, such as exams and it’s highly important to stay as relaxed as possible throughout what can be a demanding time period.


3.     Make sure you’ve done your research

      Employers want to know the person they are interviewing has put time and effort into preparing for a job application and interview. You need to make sure you can state the reasons why you want to be an apprentice at the company you’re applying for, effective research helps you do this.

Some applicants make the mistake of only covering basic research, which can be gained from a quick Google search of the employer. To avoid falling into this category, I often advise hopeful applicants to search for news articles, utilise LinkedIn and even reach out to current apprentices and ask them questions, if possible. I believe each of these methods carries individual benefits for an application.

When you’re researching make notes of important information like awards won, new projects and recent developments within the company. Try reaching out to current apprentices through LinkedIn, email, or ambassador schemes. This will help you get a real insight into the reality of the apprenticeship scheme and understand what they think are advantages when applying.

Detailed research opens more doors for conversation in interviews and helps you answer assessment questions to the best possible standard.


4.     Be prepared for rejection

It’s no lie that apprenticeships are competitive and with many applications going for the same roles, it’s normal to receive rejection throughout the application process. This is something I experienced myself and I have to utilise the knock-backs instead of letting them negatively impact me. Some may wonder, how can you learn from rejection?

Firstly, once you are made aware that a company isn’t progressing with your application, reply with an email and ask for feedback on your strengths and weaknesses. Some employers may not be able to offer tailored feedback but don’t let this put you off asking, any feedback will be helpful for you moving forward. Some may even schedule a call to discuss what you did well and what you can improve!

Also, each application you go through adds further experience to your skill set. After every interview you have, you’ll have developed your personal skills and be more prepared for potential questions raised by employers. Without realising, your confidence and approach towards assessments will have grown with every opportunity and this will only benefit you in the long term.  


5.     (The most important one!) Be your own biggest fan! 

If you don’t believe in yourself, how are you going to show an employer that they should believe you’re the best person to be a part of their team? There are so many chances within an apprenticeship application to shine and highlight what you excel in – use every chance effectively!


If you’d like to talk with someone who’s already on an apprenticeship and get some insight into what it’s like, why not talk to one of our Ambassadors using our online chat?  

Sending a big 'thank you' to Oliva for sharing her experiences and writing this blog!



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